The UCOVI Blog

The UCOVI Blog

Interview: Susan Walsh - The Classification Guru

Ned Stratton: 21st February 2022

In September for the UCOVI Blog I covered my experience on day one of the Big Data LDN 2021 expo, where the pick of the talks was given by Susan Walsh, founder of The Classification Guru and author of Between the Spreadsheets: Classifying and Fixing Dirty Data.

What marked out Susan's presentation was how - in a field where automation and expensive tech are the twin paradigms - it highlighted the importance of going through and accurately tagging data (record-by-record if needed) in good old-fashioned Excel to make it trustworthy for decision-grade analytics.

We caught up last week to discuss the rewards of well-classified spend data, the secrets of designing data taxonomies for businesses, what's it like to write about Excel at book length, and what 2022 has in stall for The Classification Guru.

Susan's book brings out her affinity for making clothing-related analogies to explain data in a relatable way. Her signature question for businesses is whether their data has its COAT on - ie is it Consistent, Organised, Accurate and Trustworthy? - and not to be outdone by this is her use of the process of keeping on top of laundry to explain what good data governance looks like in chapter 7 of her book.

More on weird and wonderful real-life analogies that have been coined to bring data down to earth will appear in a future blog post.

Event Review: Free Saturday at SQLBits 2022, London (17/03/2022) ⏪ ⏩ Upskilling as a data analyst: acquiring knowledge deep, broad and current (31/01/2022)

⌚ Back to Latest Post